Practical relevance: Physiotherapy is highly valued within human medicine and relatively well established for canine patients. Despite a popular misconception that feline patients will not cooperate with such treatment, physiotherapy is now increasingly being performed with cats. With cat ownership increasing in many countries, and an emergence of specialist physiotherapy practitioners, there is demand for effective postoperative and post-injury rehabilitation for any cat with compromised physical function due to injury, surgery or disease. Clinical challenges: While physiotherapy and rehabilitation are potentially beneficial for cats, due to their independent nature feline patients certainly present a greater challenge in the pursuit of effective therapy than their canine counterparts. Audience: This two-part review article is directed at the primary care veterinary team. The benefits of physiotherapy and the various treatment modalities available to the qualified veterinary physiotherapist, as well as the non-specialist veterinarian and veterinary nurse or technician, are examined in this first part. Evidence base: The benefits of human physiotherapeutic intervention are well documented, and there is good evidence for the effectiveness of most treatment modalities. Animal studies are still in their infancy, although some preliminary studies in dogs have shown good results.
J Feline Med Surg